Experts Blog

User Experience: The Values Are the Experience

  • Konrad Lottenbach

A short report about Kim Goodwin’s presentation during the Frontend Conference 2017 in Zurich.
I, a UX-designer myself, really enjoyed Kim Goodwin’s speech. Whenever we apply user research methods or model personas, we often fall back on her bestselling book «Designing for the Digital Age».

When you are an employee at Disney, you are not merely a staffer there. Whether a cleaner, bus driver or a marketing strategist, each employee is also a “cast member” and as such an important part of the «show». Visitors to a Disney amusement park recognize this tradition in that every employee tries to solve their individual problems, even if it means going beyond their assigned role. Kim Goodwin told a story about a visitor who asked a bus driver at the amusement park whether anyone could help him about a dripping faucet in his hotel room. If you think the driver had immediately stopped or referred the visitor to another employee, you are wrong. On the contrary, the bus driver asked the visitor about his room number and assured him that he would get that taken care of. When the guest arrived back in his room, the faucet was fixed.

The story is taken from the book «The Disney Way» and shows clearly what Kim Goodwin wants to say with «The Values Are the Experience». The bus driver doesn’t just see his role as only driving a bus – his role is a part of something bigger, namely to give guests the best possible experience.

«When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier»
Roy Disney

User Experience is everywhere

For me, Kim Goodwin accurately points out that good experiences are not created by colourful pixel-pushing, validated CSS or flowery writing. For Goodwin, making decisions according to the principles and values of a company is just as important as making your immediate work colleagues make better decisions.

I believe that while some companies are well-positioned to follow that path, the team spirit among the employees often fails to materialise and also the employees fail to fully identify with the organisation. However, just like the bus driver, those components are the inspiration for good experience, whether online or offline.

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